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Wednesday
Vice Principal Luna squinted through her sunglasses against the glare of the setting sun as she drove. Her workday at Canterlot High School had been a grueling one – as they often have been in the weeks following the Friendship Games. She and her sister Principal Celestia had their hands full addressing inquiries from parents, school officials and the media regarding the incident. She was more than ready to relieve some of that stress.
  Pulling into the shopping center parking lot, she found an open space and parked her sedan. Wasting no time, she exited her car, retrieved a black gym bag from the back seat and proceeded to cross the parking lot. It was a small, upscale open-air shopping center on the edge of the suburbs. In the time that she had been coming here, she had yet to encounter anyone from CHS – student or faculty. Nevertheless, she remained alert as she headed for the staircase near the end of the two-story structure.
  As she started up the steps, Luna reached into her gym bag for her water bottle - only to find that she had forgotten it at home. Luckily, there were vending machines nearby on the second level. Of course buying a single bottle was going to be outrageously expensive, but such was the price of convenience. Reaching the top of the stairs, Luna strode over to the row of vending machines. After inserting the requisite number of coins and inputting her selection, the machine dispensed an ice cold bottle of water. Now she could be on her way before...
  "Vice Principal Luna?"
  Luna gave a start as she whipped around to find none other than Twilight Sparkle, the recent transfer student from Crystal Prep Academy. Twilight smiled nervously.
  “Sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you.”
  “Twilight!” Luna quickly collected herself. “What a pleasant surprise!”
  “I was just running some errands when I saw you.” Twilight eyed Luna’s gym bag. “Going for a workout?"
  "I certainly am!” Technically, it was not a lie. As luck would have it, there actually was a gym on the second floor – albeit in the exact opposite direction of where Luna was headed. “After all, our bodies weren't designed to be sitting behind desks all day long!"
  "That’s what Rainbow Dash always says! Well, I’ve got to get going. Have fun!"
  "I shall! Take care now, Twilight!"
  Even as Twilight walked off, Luna made a point of casually walking in the direction of the gym. Only after Twilight had disappeared around a corner did she breathe a sigh of relief and hastily double back. That was too close! At least Twilight hadn’t been too inquisitive. Still, it was nice to see her opening up the way she has. Luna strode past the vending machines, the staircase, and then rounded the corner. Reaching the end of the walkway, she had arrived at her destination.
  The lobby was plain and lackluster, save for a few chairs to one side facing the counter on the other. Beyond them, at the opposite end, was a doorway adorned with a beaded curtain. Behind the counter, the secretary – a sweet, grandmotherly woman – was busy on a phone call, but still greeted Luna with a smile as she walked up. After signing her name on the sign-in sheet, Luna stepped through the beaded curtain. Halfway down the hall, she entered the dressing room. A minute later, she emerged wearing a black sports bra and matching workout pants. She continued to end of the hall on her bare feet.
  The dance studio was well-lit, with the mirrors lining the front wall giving it the illusion of being twice its actual size. Staggered across the hardwood floor were 10 other women of varying ages and builds, chatting as they stretched their leg and hip muscles. At the far end was her friend Dean Cadance of Crystal Prep Academy. They all turned to greet Luna as she entered.
  "Hi Luna!"
  "Hello ladies."
  Luna greeted each of her classmates as she made her way over to Cadance, who was similarly dressed as she. Setting her gym bag aside, she joined her friend in warming up for their belly dancing class.
  Luna discovered the dance less than a year ago when she happened upon an instructional DVD in a department store bargain bin. Her curiosity piqued, she bought the disc, and practiced the exercises in the privacy of her own home. Before long, she had shared her discovery with Cadance, who then began to partake in it. The exercises were fun and invigorating – especially after a long day at work. More importantly, they both found themselves feeling more confident with their own bodies.
  Soon, they were no longer satisfied just mimicking movements in front of a video screen. They wanted to get the full experience. Six months ago, they both enrolled in the studio’s class. Twice a week, they left behind the outside world - and all of its troubles - to practice the art form that had so enriched their lives.
  “How was your day?” Cadance asked as she rotated her left foot.
  “Same old, same old.” Luna replied as she rotated her shoulders. “Yours?”
  "Much the same.” Cadance switched feet. “Cinch is still avoiding the limelight. However, the ripples continue to flow.”
  Following the Friendship Games, many Crystal Prep students and faculty began to reevaluate the school’s mission and vision. Many felt that the school had grown complacent, relying too much on its vaunted reputation. Others felt that Crystal Prep needed to temper its quest for excellence with compassion - or at the very least, humility.
  Cadance reached down to her ankles.
  "How has Twilight been doing at CHS?"
  “Quite well.” Luna reached both arms to the ceiling. “Funny you should ask. I just ran into her outside."
  Cadance glanced up at Luna “Twilight was here?”
  "Over by the vending machines. She thought I was going to the gym."
  “You got lucky!” Cadance laughed.
  Nobody in their professional or social circles – not even Principal Celestia, and most certainly not Principal Cinch – knew that they practiced belly dance. To the average person, the very words conjured images of women dancing for the pleasure of men, leading many to equate it with stripping. They agreed that it would be best if they remained discreet about their extracurricular activity.
  "Good evening ladies!” the instructor called from the front. “Let us begin!”
  After practicing some fundamentals – hip circles, shimmies, and undulations – each of the women spent the remainder of the class practicing her dance number for their upcoming recital on Saturday. Every quarter of the year, the studio held a recital that gave each of its students a chance to choreograph and perform their own dance routines. It would be Luna and Cadance’s second recital. They were both very excited - yet at the same time, wistful.
  Each of the other women in their class had friends and family members who regularly attended their recitals - loved ones who understood what the dance meant to them, and were not embarrassed to show their support. It would be nice if they too had someone cheering them on.


Saturday
With Fluttershy taking Spike to the dog park, Twilight Sparkle had some time to catch up with her elder brother Shining Armor.
  Shining had heard about the incident at the Friendship Games from Cadance and a few others. While he did not fully comprehend the circumstances or the powers at work, one thing he was certain of was that his younger sister needed his support more than ever. He and Twilight decided to visit the Old Town.
  As its name implied, many of the buildings in the Old Town were constructed over half-a-century ago, and still retained their period appearance. Walking down the street, Twilight and Shining felt like they had gone back in time. Their first stop was the comics and games shop. Although Shining had not played Ogres and Oubliettes in a long time, he liked to keep up with the current edition. Next, they paid a visit to the used book store, where Twilight perused the shelves for various out-of-print titles. She ended up buying a square-shaped black hardcover book entitled “Mysterious Creatures,” which reminded them of their youth when they dabbled in cryptozoology.
  Now, they sat in the patio of the local coffeehouse. Twilight had just told Shining about the frequent sleepovers she had with the Rainbooms, and how they had even reached out to some of her former Crystal Prep classmates. The latter had been a gamble, but it ultimately paid off. Proud as Shining was to have been a Crystal Prep Shadowbolt, Twilight’s transfer to Canterlot High had clearly done her a world of good. For the first time in a long time, his sister seemed comfortable in her own skin.
  Twilight took a sip from her hot apple cider - which was nowhere nearly as good as the cider made by Applejack and her family.
  “I'm really glad that CHS has welcomed you warmly.” said Shining.
  “In a couple of weeks, I’ll be joining the girls on a trip to Camp Everfree.”
  "Was that place still open?”
  “Last I heard it was.”
  Shining was about to take a sip from his mocha latte when Twilight’s eyes suddenly locked onto something in the distance.
  "What is it Twilie?"
  "Vice Principal Luna and Dean Cadance, over there."
  At the mention of Cadance's name, Shining glanced over his shoulder. Sure enough, across the street a little ways down, there were both Cadance and Luna.
  “Well, isn’t this a small world.” Shining quipped.
  The two women walked on the sidewalk for a bit before entering the front doors of the Old Town Theater.
  “Let’s go say hello!” said Twilight.
  Finishing their drinks and discarding their cups in a waste bin, they crossed the street and walked up to the theater. A line of people stood in front of the box office. As they neared the front entrance, they spotted posters advertising the day’s event.
  Twilight and Shining looked at each other as they connected the dots. Vice Principal Luna? Dean Cadance? Belly dancing? Had they come to watch the show? Or were they…performing?
  For a moment, neither Twilight nor Shining said a word. They looked around at the people standing in line. With the exception of two men, the line was made up entirely of women of varying ages – some old enough to be grandmothers. One of the men even appeared to the father two young girls who were talking about seeing their mommy perform.
  Twilight and Shining looked back at each other. Without words, they came to an agreement – that there was only one way they would find answers to the questions that now burned in their minds…


Backstage, Luna and Cadance stood with their classmates, having just changed into their costumes. Luna’s outfit consisted of a black bra, belt and skirt with silver accents. Cadance’s was similar, albeit in sky blue with gold accents.
  Luna peeked out between the curtains at the gathering audience – many of whom she recognized from the last recital. Then she spotted the purple-haired girl and the blue-haired young man entering from the lobby. The blood drained from Luna’s face. She urgently tapped Cadance on the shoulder.
  “What is it, Luna?”
  "Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor are in the audience!"
  Cadance’s eyes grew to the size of saucers. She peeked between the curtains, and gasped when her eyes fell upon Shining and Twilight as they seated themselves in the third row from the stage. Cadance’s face flushed red as she turned around and joined Luna in staring off into space.
  All the dread possibilities raced through their minds. Did Twilight and Shining know that they were performing? How would they see them after this? How long before all of Canterlot High and Crystal Prep knew? How long before they were dismissed from their positions? Cadance’s thoughts focused more on Shining Armor. Would he now think that she was a loose woman? Would he leave her? Would he...?
  “Places, ladies!” their instructor called. “It’s show time!”
  Hearing their teacher’s voice snapped Luna and Cadance back to reality. Even if they could bail right now, what would that accomplish? Ever since their first recital, they had longed for someone from their everyday lives to come to watch them perform, and now they had gotten their wish! They had to give Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor a chance. Together, they each took a slow, deep breath and regained their composure.
  “We’re being ridiculous.” Luna stated plainly.
  “This is what we wanted.”
  “Let’s show them exactly what this means to us!”
  With that, Luna and Cadance took their positions.


Twilight and Shining powered off their cell phones as the house lights began to dim. A woman’s voice boomed in over the speakers.
  “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and thank you all for joining us today. My students have worked hard preparing for this event, and have we got a show for you!”
  An entrancing blend of percussion, strings and what sounded like chanting poured in from the speakers. As the curtains rose, the stage lights illuminated the 12 women assembled before them. Twilight and Shining spotted Luna and Cadance on the left-hand side of the formation, moving in synchronization with the other women as they shimmied, spun and undulated.
  The other dancers varied in age, ranging from their twenties to forties, with one who might have been even older. Regardless of age or build, each one of them was stunning to behold. While some of their colorful costumes showed plenty of skin, others were less-revealing, but still accentuated the feminine form.
  From the stage, Luna and Cadance stole glances at Twilight and Shining every now and then. Both of them were completely enthralled watching the performance, Shining diligently keeping his eyes on Cadance.
  After the opening group number, the dancers took turns performing their individual routines. One danced with a curved sword. Another danced twirling a hooked cane. One danced whilst playfully flirting with a man in the audience who appeared to be her husband. Another seemed lost in a trance-like reverie as she danced. Every now and then, some of the women in the audience would give an ululating cry as a dancer performed some intricate maneuver.
  Before long, it was Luna’s turn. She began her number prone on the floor, cloaked in a large black veil. As a haunting percussion and string instrumental boomed in over the speakers, she rose to her feet. In her hands, the veil seemed to take on a life of its own as she shimmied and spun about the stage.
  Twilight watched in awe. The Luna before her was a completely different woman from the Vice Principal of Canterlot High School. She could not put her finger on it, but there was something palpable about the way Luna and some of the other dancers performed – how they seemed to be channeling some unseen force through their bodies.
  Cadance was up next. She shimmied to the lively drum beat pouring in from the speakers, punctuating the rhythm with chiming from the miniature cymbals she wore on her fingers. Between shimmying and spinning, she was in constant motion, cymbals chiming all the while.
  Shining's eyes never left Cadance. Prior to this day, the only “belly dancing” he had ever seen was in fantasy movies involving genies and flying carpets, and in ridiculously campy espionage thrillers. The spectacle before him now was something far, far different, and infinitely more beautiful.
  When Cadance finished her number, Shining applauded with a sweet, sincere smile on his face - the very same that she had come to love. She smiled right back at him – the very same woman he had come to adore.


The finale brought all of the dancers out on stage once more, and concluded with a standing ovation from the entire audience. After the performers had changed back into their "civilian clothes," they filtered out into the theater lobby to greet their friends and family. Sure enough, Luna and Cadance found Twilight and Shining waiting for them. Twilight ran up to embrace Cadance.
  "That was so beautiful!" Twilight beamed.
  "You were wonderful." Shining said to Cadance. "Uh...both of you!" he added when she tilted her head toward Luna.
  “Thank you so very much.” Cadance replied.
  “I am curious though,” Luna approached with an unreadable expression. “How did you find us?”
  There was no edge in Luna’s voice, but Twilight suddenly found herself reverting back to her Crystal Prep persona.
  “We…we were at the coffeehouse up the street…and we saw you enter the theater. We…well, we were curious…so we bought tickets.”
  “How’s that for luck?” Cadance nodded to Luna.
  “I have a confession Twilight,” Luna said as she cracked a warm smile. “When you saw me the other night, I was actually on my way to our dance class.”
  Twilight gasped. “I-I didn’t mean to intrude! We…”
  “It’s alright.” Cadance said gently as she took Twilight’s face in her hands. “We’re glad that you found us. Until today, we’ve never had a cheering section.”
  With that, Twilight’s smile returned.
  “Still,” Luna added, “we would greatly appreciate it if you both remained discreet.”
  “Say no more..." Shining smiled as he made a zipping motion across his lips. Cadance planted a kiss on his cheek.
  “Cross my heart!” said Twilight as she drew an X over her left breast. “I did have one question though.”
  “What’s that?” Luna asked.
  “Was there an age requirement for the class?”
Well, believe it or not, this is my first ever fanfic.

This scenario came to me little more than a week ago - Vice Principal Luna and Dean Cadance secretly practicing belly dancing in their free time and caught between keeping it a secret and longing for friends and loved ones to attend their recitals. Of course, they had best be careful what they wish for (no lame genie pun intended)!

I owe some thanks to :iconzellykat:, whose work provided some very valuable insights.

Most of the stories I write tend to be gritty, violent action thrillers. It was a fun experience to try something new. If I have time, I might do illustrations as well.

Hope you enjoy! :)

Luna, Cadance, Twilight Sparkle, Shining Armor (c) Hasbro
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:iconklkjr:
klkjr Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2016
mayorlight You know, for this being your first time writing a fanfiction, it was a great start. Not only did you manage to capture the emotions of what both Luna and Cadence were feeling as they wondered how their family and friends would react, you've shown that you know your stuff when it comes to the art of Le Danse Orientale.


 While I understood what you're going for, I do want to point out that although the stigma of it being equated with striptease does still exist, it has become popular as of late and looked upon favorably as an alternative form of exercise.


Also, while there are people within the belly dance community who keep their dance personas away from their "normal" lives, there are dancers out there who are more open about what they do and have had the support of those who know them. Whether they have the understanding of the "general public"or not depends on where they are and what location they perform in. 


That said, it wouldn't surprise me if this story was also partly inspired by the experiences of other dancers who faced what these two had to, regarding their 1st performance in front of a crowd.

Overall, it's a well-structured story that is well paced and well written. 


Forgive me for asking.  Is it possible that there will be more stories like it or is this a one-shot  and nothing else?



To ZellyKat (if she ever sees this):

Thank you for being this... person's muse and giving him all that he needed to create something this beautiful. You might not realize it, but it's because of people like you that inspire others to be the best that they can be.  Then again, considering the fact that you've made (and still make) great of your own, it's no wonder that others who create great works cite people like you as their greatest influence.


Grade: B+
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:iconmayorlight:
mayorlight Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much.

I'm considering writing a sequel wherein Twilight ponders sharing her new hobby with the rest of the Humane 7, likewise wondering whether they would be as receptive as she.
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:iconartviewerinabottle:
Artviewerinabottle Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2016
This was cute, and Twilight's question at the end conjures some adorable mental images. :3
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:iconmayorlight:
mayorlight Featured By Owner Edited Jun 27, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! In some ways, this story was a prequel to this piece:
fav.me/da2rlg7

I'm actually tempted to write a follow up story focusing on SciTwi trying to keep her new hobby under wraps from the Rainbooms and her former Crystal Prep classmates.

I'll post this to FiMFiction once I've created a visual.
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:iconartviewerinabottle:
Artviewerinabottle Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2016
Silly Sci-Twi, you don't belly-dance with your hair up! I think.
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:iconburningkikoken:
BurningKikoken Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2016
Definitely going to be giving this a read. This should be interesting! 
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